After five years away, Steve Holy is back on the country charts with the power ballad, "Love Don't Run." He filmed the video on a sweltering day at the elegant Cheekwood estate in Nashville, which gave the finished product a lavish, Masterpiece Theatre look.
"I can only imagine being that rich," he says with laugh.
Holy read the treatment about three days before the video shoot. He took a break from a rigorous tour schedule to shoot it -- and then went back on the bus for more gigs.
"Videos are one thing that I've never focused on. I've been on the road for nine straight months, non-stop," he says. "My management team said, 'This is a great story,' and so did the label. Watching the video, it takes a different angle, and I think it's wonderful. To me, it looks like a piece that should be around forever -- minus me in the video. The actors were unbelievable. They did all the work. I was out there for 12 minutes."
Wait, 12 minutes?
"Yeah, I'm a blue-collar guy. I like to get in there and mix it up," he notes. "That's why I've always felt silly on video sets, honestly, because I can't help but see my dad looking at me. My dad passed away in '99, but I can just see him -- 'What are you doing, boy, with that makeup on?' I'm getting used to it, 10 years into my career."
In 1999, Holy released his first single, "Don't Make Me Beg," which peaked at No. 29 on Billboard's country airplay chart. After that, "Blue Moon" and "The Hunger" both climbed to No. 24. However, he wasn't out with three strikes. A fourth single, "Good Morning Beautiful," spent a surprising five weeks at No. 1 and became the 10th most-played country song of the decade.
He included an acoustic version of the ballad at the end of his new album, Love Don't Run.
"It's what kick-started my career. ... We also wanted to make sure there was at least one hit on the album," he added with a wry smile.
Like LeAnn Rimes and Lee Ann Womack, Holy often performed on the Texas Opry circuit as he was pursuing stardom. He credits the late Johnnie High's Country Music Revue in Grapevine, Texas, with establishing a foundation for his career.
Asked what those early shows were like, he replies, "Very wholesome. A very forgiving audience, thank God. They let you sing two songs maximum, typically, and it actually worked out great because I only knew one!"
With a sly grin, he continues, "Johnnie was extremely supportive, and he gave me 100 percent of the confidence I had to want to pursue this. He would introduce you in a way where you could go out there and forget all the words and not say anything, but his set-up would make the audience and the artist feel like, 'This guy's a star.' I would go out there with confidence because of Johnnie."
To this day, Holy remains based in Texas. And with new management in place for his revived career, Holy believes teamwork is a key component to success.
"Having someone believe in you is priceless," he says. "I went through a rough time in my career when I thought, 'Maybe this guy is concentrating on someone else a little much.' With my new management team, I feel like I couldn't have any more support than I have right now. It's changed my perspective. I've got truly strong management."
Indeed, the renewed effort is paying off. "Love Don't Run" marks Holy's third-highest chart performance to date.
After the romantic "Good Morning Beautiful" ran its course, it took five years (and five stalled singles) for Holy to return to the top. In 2006, his feisty "Brand New Girlfriend" reached No. 1. However, his momentum quickly fell off again. And that's not all bad. Since "Brand New Girlfriend," Holy has welcomed two daughters to his family (ages 3 and 1), and he's cherished his time as a new parent.
"I took some time off. I became a father," he says. "I wanted to be a dad for a while. And then I had this never-ending urge to want to get out and play for people. After a while, I thought, 'I want to be there for my babies, but I've got to do this [performing].' I don't do drugs, but this is my drug, I guess. It's what I love to do. If anybody out there wants to hear me, I'll be there at your doorstep to play. It's neat to have taken that much time off and still be in the game."